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Whistler, The Musical, finds the stage

First stage reading of Snow takes place Saturday at MY Millennium Place



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"I hadn't told anyone at that point, and I said, 'well, I'm kind of working on a musical.' And he was like, 'Really?!'" Anthony recalls, mocking Stoddard's British accent; "'you've got to let me write a song for it!'"

Stoddard produced two songs immediately, Yuki's Song and Rob Boyd is God, which they entered in the 2008 72-Hour Filmmaker Showdown. Anthony churned out another song within the week. Then the musical masterminds began working collaboratively on songs, fueled purely by caffeine.

"It turned out we were made for each other, so to speak," Anthony said, laughing. "...We wrote a lot of the songs in serious sessions. Like, one day in my living room we actually wrote three of the main songs within two hours."

"After we got act one sort of hammered out a bit, we all took scenes away and wrote them and then got together again and were quite surprised that it seemed as coherent as it was, given that four different people wrote it," Maxwell said.

With almost $90,000 in grant money in hand, the band of writers set out to create a production that truly captured the essence of life in a mountain town. The two-act musical traces the arc of a season in Whistler, following the protagonist, Yuki, a Japanese pro snowboarder who comes to Whistler to train for the Core Games. In the process, she becomes intertwined in illicit love affairs, experiences serious sibling rivalry with her older and more traditional brother, Hiro, and has to survive a season of snow drought in staff housing.

Of course, Yuki is just one of many characters included in Snow. She's joined by the token Prairie boy, an Australian and a Quebecois for a season that none of them will ever forget.

"I loved the story that (Anthony) outlined for me, which was very much boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl kind of thing, with a whole lot of human pathos thrown in for good measure," Maxwell said.

Rather than produce a dry historical account of Whistler's heritage, specifically, they opted to create a production that's about Whistler to an extent, but something that would also showcase the universality of mountain town life.

"There's some things in there that you could point at and say they're cliché, like someone dies in an avalanche during a big snow cycle, and they are to us. But if you put this on a stage in a city and people who aren't familiar with the ski bum existence, with the fine line between life and death being underfoot every day, and its not going to be cliché," Anthony said.